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Parkersburg Art Center fostering creativity with new round of Arty Parties

Miles Sutton, 4, decided to be creative and instead of making an animal or maraca, crafted a telescope with his cardboard tubes. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

PARKERSBURG — With the cold weather limiting outdoor activities more and more as temperatures continue to drop, families have started looking for indoor activities.

Helping to provide such activities each week is The Parkersburg Art Center.

While the center has many course options for kids, teens and adults, they also offer a free program (sponsored by the Virginia L Neptune Foundation) called “Arty Parties”.

The annual series of “Arty Parties” give children a chance to try their hands at a variety of arts and crafts activities every Saturday, starting in January and continuing through March.

Arty Parties are offered two times a day on Saturday (10-10:45 a.m. and 11-11:45 a.m.) and are completely free to any child who wants to participate.

Elizabeth Reed, 6, paints her cardboard tube before filling it with macaroni to create a maraca. Saturday crafts at the Parkersburg Art Center included maracas, animals and a construction set out of cardboard. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Due to the pandemic, spots are limited and require a registration. There are 12 spots available each hour and 12 take home crafts available for pick-up.

“We are offering a to-go craft for those who can’t (due to a filled up session or plans of their own) or don’t feel comfortable attending in person,” said Jessie Siefert, the education director for the Art Center.

Parents may register their children online at parkersburgartcenter.org.

Saturday crafts at the Parkersburg Art Center included maracas, animals and a construction set out of cardboard. However, those were just ideas, and kids were free to do as they pleased with the art supplies they got.

Miles Sutton, who is 4, debated on what he wanted to create from the moment he walked in.

Lincoln Reed, 8, used the cardboard tubes to build a “Willy Wonka Factory” for “Emmet” (his Lego character) to explore. Saturday crafts at the Parkersburg Art Center included maracas, animals and a construction set out of cardboard. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

“I could make a telescope, or a periscope…. OR A ROCKET LAUNCHER,” he said.

“I enjoy watching the kids inspire their own creativity through random items put in front of them,” said Tracy Love, an Arty Party leader.

Sutton’s sister Clare Sutton,6, loves owls and decided to make a cardboard owl.

“She (Clare) made some really great clay owls at art camp over the summer too,” said the children’s mother Manda Sutton.

Another family that attended Saturday was Tia Reed and three of her kids.

Saturday crafts at the Parkersburg Art Center included maracas, animals and a construction set out of cardboard. Clare Sutton, 6 made an owl. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

“My oldest uses Saturday mornings to practice driving with her dad, and I head down here with the rest of the family,” Reed said. “We plan to come out every Saturday.”

Reed said they attend the late art group so everyone can get lunch downtown as well.

“We just make a family fun day out of it,” she said.

The Arty Parties all build up to the annual Art-O-Rama, which will be held March 19.

Art-O-Rama is a free community arts day that aims at highlighting all of the creative opportunities available to families in the Mid-Ohio Valley and getting children interested in the arts. Each year there are performances, craft tables and other fun options offered downtown for families to enjoy.

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com

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Upcoming Arty Party Crafts

* January 22: Found object mobiles

* January 29: Yarn and bead sewing

* February 5: “Quilted” paper house collage

* February 12: Contact and tissue paper suncatchers

* February 19: Paper Towel Tube Totem Poles

* February 26: Geometric shape collage using tangrams

* March 5: Shape and line paintings using oil pastels and paints

* March 12: Mask/headbands

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